Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Debit card, issue 2

I never really forget about my personal belongings - haven't even lost a key before. (With a slight exception, that once at a US airport I left behind a bag containing passport and other important things, and walked away only to realize that after two minutes. I rushed back and it's still there. But that's the result of very insufficient sleep.) But within 1 year in UK I've lost my debit card! I think I must have left it behind after paying with it in a supermarket. And I only realize this after a few days. Actually, I felt my wallet being thinner those days, but I just thought it's because "I have no money".

Anyway, the card replacement process is quite smooth and I got my new card today. Except that when I ask the card to be sent to the university branch, they sent it to the city centre branch...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

CX 60th anniversary

CX 今年六十週年,我都同佢贈興一下。圖中所見既並唔係個別事件,我一年前就已經親眼見過(雖然唔係呢班/呢架機),之後亦聽人講過。不佢地成年都唔理個問題,任佢漏水的嗎?

Friday, September 15, 2006


ALGO'06 is in Zurich, Switzerland this year. An incomplete list of what happened:

(1) It is essentially impossible to get to a flight on time in Heathrow Terminal 4. You go early enough and they won't tell you where to check-in. Self-service check-in machines are hidden behind the fast bag drop queue, which in turn is hidden behind another queue. Before going to security you need to wait outside the airport building. And of course you know the security itself. I went to the gate at 15:52 when the flight was supposed to depart at 15:50. Of course, I could still catch the flight. Half of the people would have missed it if they didn't wait.

(2) Switzerland probably has the most expensive McDonalds among the places I have been to.

(3) As everyone knows, people don't really listen to talks. So they designed something to keep you busy.

(4) Just before my talk, someone looked at my first slide which was already shown on the screen, and asked me "Is Fxxxxxx Cxxx the wife of Andy Yao?"

(5) In a reception, some girls asked me where is the "boy" that was with me. They were referring to Txx-Wxx Lxx. When they knew that he is already a professor, they couldn't close their mouths for a few seconds.

(6) As far as I can remember, I have never been to a conference together with the professor mentioned in (5) above. I should try to do it more in the future. You just hang around with him and some girls will appear and talk to you. I mean, it never happened like this before and it couldn't be me getting more handsome, right?

(7) How many more times do the officers in passport control in London airports like to ask this: "What do you do here?" "Lecturer." "Lecturer! What do you lecture?" How could they sound like surprising when the thing is written on both the visa and the landing card? And should I say "algorithms"?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

more applications

Some more interesting applications:

1) A long, long time ago, I told you when you copy assignments, don't put the two copies consecutively into the assignment box. The same holds when you apply to universities. Even when you are applying to different departments.

2) And there is a reason why the Ig Nobel Prize in Literature 2005 is given to people in this country rather than some others.

3) Can anyone tell me how Thailand's calendar works? Is their "September" the 8th month of the year? I don't feel all that comfortable looking at something from future...

Friday, September 08, 2006

香港 vs. 烏茲別克

香港隊做乜忽然咁叻仔,竟然主客兩場都逼和烏茲別克... 雖然出線機會都係好微,但和總好過輸... 范俊業好野!

Monday, September 04, 2006

A new problem in my linux every day

I am using Linux in most of the time with my office PC, and it has just a bit too many nasty problems. Typically they come with no reason and disappear by themselves after several weeks (or months). The PCs are centrally administered and I suppose the technical support people change things every now and then and therefore problems come and go.

The newest invention is that the attachment bar in the bottom of Thunderbird becomes so thin that I can't see and click any attachment in it. And the little plus/minus sign that allows you to expand/collapse the viewing of the complete subject/from/date headers does not work. Well actually it only fails to work for mails with attachment.

Some other problems that get solved by itself included:

1) Chinese characters were displayed normally, then one day all become strange symbols, and then another day the characters came back - with a much better font!

2) Gnome refused to work properly; after the machine was up for a while then gpdf, ggv, gedit, g-whatever all cannot get started. So the very first thing I did after the machine was booted up was to open some pdf or ps files... then it would stay fine.

3) On a few occasions the clock was fast by exactly one hour. Although this one goes away easily (just a reboot).